From ‘Don’t be a Nuisance’ to Claiming Myself – an Ongoing Journey

My parents ran the village shop and Post Office in a rural community. We did stock a very wide range of goods, but this was more than just an emporium – it was the centre of village life. We had a coke-burning stove and in the winter the farmers would come and warm their hands on the chimney pipe. There were so many ‘characters’ – those who would come several times a day and buy just one item each time; those who would come just before closing time and engage one of my parents in conversation; those who would ignore the shop hours totally and come to our back door!

This all seemed very unfair to me, but the response I got was always the same – to be grateful to these people because their money put the food on my plate. It seemed as though my parents lived in fear of offending (and more particularly my brother and I offending) a customer. What appeared to me to be grave injustices were swept under the carpet of duty and inevitability.

On the rare occasions when I was allowed to go to other people’s houses my parents’ parting words would be, “don’t make a nuisance of yourself and remember to say thank you for having me.” On my return the first question was, “did you make a nuisance of yourself?”… and sometimes “did you have a nice time?!”

This was so confusing. Couldn’t they see what a glorious little girl I was, so full of fun? In later years I came to question whether in fact they knew how glorious they were. I don’t think they ever realised how loved they were: I can distinctly remember longing to tell them that as a child, part of me bemused that adults who were supposed to know everything, didn’t know that.

Many years later when my mother had to go for radiotherapy treatments following a cancer operation, she refused in-patient care and went on the bus every day. She didn’t ask anyone for help… she didn’t want to be a nuisance! The villagers would have been horrified if they knew, after all the care and compassion they had received from my parents over the years.

However in later life I found that they were just repeating their own parents’ pattern and making sure that my brother and I were well trained in the life formula to put everyone else first… and not to be a nuisance. Obviously that is what they thought worked.

So I went through life assiduously applying the formula, and being nice. My calculations to assess the nuisance quotient when I was asked my preference would include:

  • What others might want to do
  • What costs were involved
  • How much time it would take
  • What would it then stop others from doing?

I spent most of my working life putting the client first, going the extra mile, sometimes working through the night. Adrenal exhaustion finally caught up with me and I could no longer work. I told very few people – well, I didn’t want to be a nuisance!

And then my body shouted a little louder – I got cancer. Again I told few people, but a dear friend I did tell suggested that I meet up with Serge Benhayon.

He asked me to consider how much I valued and loved myself, and through the Esoteric Practitioners and fellow students I was offered huge support to explore the answer and change my choices. That is what I have been doing since.

It has been (and is) such a journey to undo the ‘nice-ness’ that I had embodied so well, to open up to the love that is there inside me and what that means in everyday life.

Thanks to Universal Medicine and the inspiration and support of fellow students I am beginning to accept that I have a unique contribution to make to the huge jigsaw that is humanity.

If I hold back then the puzzle can never be finished. If I try to make myself as others, the puzzle will never be complete. Suppose I am the key piece that makes sense of the other parts and when I am truly being me others can see where their piece of the puzzle fits? If I don’t, then there will be a hole.

So that would really make me a nuisance, when I am not being all of the me that I can be!

by Kathie Johnson, Leamington Spa, UK

644 thoughts on “From ‘Don’t be a Nuisance’ to Claiming Myself – an Ongoing Journey

  1. Not wanting to be a nuisance is something that I somehow adopted also Kathie, probably came from a few areas of my life . . . my catholic upbringing and the subservient christian beliefs that came from that, my family life where I had the feeling that we, as children were considered too much, and a given up feeling that I had had most of my life. What I have come to realise is that subservience is a form of control .

  2. How amazing that you were able to see this family pattern of not wanting to be a nuisance and end it in your life time. As you say it is such a belittling belief to take on. I have sometimes had that thought myself that I won’t bother to say or do something because it might cause a stir or make a nuisance but sometimes that is just what is needed and certainly holding back from the truth, love and joy that we are serves no one.

    1. Yes, what we say, do or how we are can make people react and the reaction can feel extremely unjustified as the reaction can be extreme when we are in our fullness or expressing love.

  3. We blame genetics for all sorts of things when in truth it is our behaviours that are passed on from one generation to the next. Observing my behaviours I get to question as to whether they support me and through the observation I give myself an opportunity to respond and let them go and in doing so I put an end to the behaviours that may cause illness and disease in future generations. Now this is what I call true love and it begins with truly loving the self.

  4. “It has been (and is) such a journey to undo the ‘nice-ness’ that I had embodied so well, to open up to the love that is there inside me and what that means in everyday life.” I can so relate to being nice and not wanting to be a nuisance. As a child of the fifties children – especially girls – were taught to be quiet and ‘don’t speak until you are spoken to’. Undoing this all is taking a while – but since discovering Universal Medicine my life – and myself – have changed hugely, as have the lives of many other students.

  5. It is almost laughable as I ponder on making myself ‘be nice’, or living the exquisite beauty I am. Yet unfortunately this is not a laughable matter as there are ways that the being nice affects me to this day. A stop moment, one in which to honour my beauty and grace, one to ponder on holding myself with this as I step into the amazing new day tomorrow.

  6. If we put other people first, few people will see our awesomeness. A very ‘safe’ approach with long term costs.

  7. I love the analogy of the puzzle for we sometimes forget the unique contribution we have to make to the whole and how without it the whole is less. We have a huge responsibility and it is gorgeous when we claim and express that for others to see what they can choose too.

  8. It is only through the constant appreciation and valuing of ourselves that we get to know the volume of the universe through us and the responsibility we hold in our unique expression of truth.

  9. Not wanting to be a nuisance is a common thing. But on the other end, I know how lovely it is to give support when needed, help a friend, or be there when someone is in need. By not wanting to be a nuisance we deny others that joy.

  10. What a gorgeous transformation Kathie. What you have shared is very enlightening and so true. We create complication when we are not being ourselves and as such experience the loveless that this brings, in contrast to when we are truly being ourselves and live in honor of what we feel is true, we then bring love to the lives we live.

  11. I can relate to not wanting to be a nuisance and not fussing, just to make someone else’s life Unruffled. Somehow I have been given the message its not OK for me to ask for anything or be myself. I cant blame anyone but myself now if I continue to do this for I have learnt that we are all equal and I am as worthy as another!

  12. That mindset of ‘don’t make a nuisance of yourself’ has a lot to answer for. It has attempted to suppress the living expression of so many young people and has stayed like a stain on the hearts of a multitude of people. We can gather now ourselves together and say ‘no’ to this and to the many other ‘ideas’and curses that have been put upon us and which we said ‘yes’ to.

  13. Wow Kathie. You had me remembering being told the same thing – not to make a nuisance of myself. When people said this to me it made me realise that they may have found me to be an inconvenience at times too. I did the same thing with my siblings and as an adult I can still view people as being ‘in my way’. Your blog reminds me how precious people are and how much we miss out on and hurt others when we do not honour this.

  14. Well said Kathie. This is a familiar tale and something I can very much relate to – although the word in my family is ‘burden’ rather than ‘nuisance’. ‘Don’t be a burden…’ is something I have heard many times. How glorious it is to start saying no to this lie and to reclaim the truth of who we are, putting that puzzle back together again in Oneness.

  15. Beautifully unravelled what a true nuisance would be. It is so very important to look at the patterns we have and those of our parents as they are linked and only with an open heart and deep understanding can we undo what we have taken for normal. There are so many things I have taken for normal only to discover that they are ways how I have learned to be in the world.

  16. Holding onto values such as being reliant and not being a nuisance can not work, as in order to keep up these appearances, we must have tolerances that go against our innate nature of delicateness and sensitivity of our bodies.

  17. I wonder how many of us grew up with the words “don’t be a nuisance” ringing regularly in our ears. I don’t remember it being said to me at home, only before I went to visit others, and I am sure that was accompanied by ‘be a good girl, ‘be polite’ and ‘don’t forget to say thank you’. I can feel how these words began to feed the belief that if I am good, polite etc people will like me, instead of knowing that if I was simply given the freedom to be all of me that they definitely would have loved having me in their lives.

  18. ‘If I hold back then the puzzle can never be finished. If I try to make myself as others, the puzzle will never be complete.’ We all have a purpose in life, and if we hold back our expression we are holding back from being part of the whole.

    1. We each have our own unique expression and all our unique expressions together make the whole that will then enable us all to evolve back to where came from.

  19. I know that one. Don’t do anything that will make others think that everything is not under control and ok. It’s quite an effort doing this and it’s in my opinion just people that is starved of love, both from within themselves but also the starvation that happens when we keep ourselves separate and distant to others by wanting to look so called perfect.

  20. As the adrenal exhaustion and cancer shows, if one does not look after oneself first one is not able to help others and then one becomes the ‘nuisance’ one is endeavouring all the time not to be.

  21. “If I hold back then the puzzle can never be finished”….so true, we are all so needed in this jigsaw puzzle in humanity, we all have a part to play which means no-one person is more or less than another.

  22. I always found that I was more of a nuisance to people when I didn’t speak my mind or say what I wanted because then they would be left guessing and trying to read what I was really saying behind the words. In my experience, we all love honesty as it brings people to the same point and no one is left guessing or out of the picture.

  23. ‘I spent most of my working life putting the client first, going the extra mile, sometimes working through the night.’ When we put others first before looking after ourselves, we lack true quality. It is much more discerning to look after ourselves first and produce a true quality in our work rather than something that reflects the lack of quality due to our lack of responsibility and livingness.

  24. I love your last sesntemce referring to us being part of a jigsaw and us needing to be ourselves to be our part in that.

  25. ‘Suppose I am the key piece that makes sense of the other parts and when I am truly being me others can see where their piece of the puzzle fits?’ A great question for us all to ponder Kathie and to claim the unique qualities we all bring that are all needed and so beautifully support the whole.

  26. We can move in a way that keeps us in the illusions that what we are doing is the ‘right’ thing to support others. In truth it just supports others to stay stuck in an endless loop. True support is to live in a way that offers reflection to another of another way to live, a way that gets you out of this endless loop. Being nice never helped anyone to evolve, being true is movement in evolution.

  27. It is interesting to look at our family upbringing and see what patterns of behaviours were set up and what set of ideals and beliefs surrounded the family. To observe it with grace, understanding and compassion, and then feel what is true and what is not. Quite often we can just play it all out without taking the time to look at it and say, is that true for me now? (or possibly ever?). And the understanding is important, and without judgement, as quite often our parents repeated their own set of behaviours, ideals and beliefs.

  28. It’s amazing how one single comment can have an effect for every single day of our lives. This really reminds me how important our expression is, and how deeply ill-expression can harm another.

    1. I so agree Meg and even more insidious when we have taken a meaning that was not intended from the comment, but we just didn’t check at the time….part of our responsibility for what we ‘take on board’….or not.

      1. That is true we can misinterpret comments, though I would say that most comments come with an energy and we deeply feel the impact of that.

  29. If I hold back then the puzzle can never be finished. If I try to make myself as others, the puzzle will never be complete. Suppose I am the key piece that makes sense of the other parts and when I am truly being me others can see where their piece of the puzzle fits? If I don’t, then there will be a hole. I love how you have described this Kathie, very well put.

  30. That we are all essential parts of a jigsaw puzzle that is to be completed else we miss the bigger picture, really brings home how we are all equal and whomever needs support to be themselves receives that support. This is what brotherhood is all about as is accepting my responsibility to shine, to be myself.

  31. Gosh, how many can relate to this. I too have walked on eggshells much of my life, living in fear that I will annoy another or put someone out. It’s debilitating and we don’t realise it until it’s brought to our attention, either through an illness in our bodies or through an increased awareness that we are actually not a nuisance at all, but a much need piece of the puzzle as you say.

  32. I know when people refer to me as ‘nice,’ its meant as a complement, but these days I don’t like the description, because the nice person I have fashioned myself to be, is not really the true me, but the person who wants to be liked.

  33. Not wanting to be, or ‘don’t be a nuisance’ was a belief that also ran in my family through the generations, it is so crazy that this belief was imposed on us and that we accepted it, or was it giving us something at some level that we wanted?

  34. I love what you have shared here Kathie. “If I hold back then the puzzle can never be finished.” this is so significant.

  35. I love the service these type of businesses offer, not from the products they stock but from how they are. Sounds like this business was the pillar of the community and rightly so. What an injustice that is served when the community doesn’t show this and equally when the person providing this service doesn’t appreciate it fully. It’s amazing to see how these behaviours are passed on and it’s great to see a person in a generational behaviour make a significant change to open the way for a healing for all. I am in business and this highlights the relationships that we have in business and puts forward another layer to allow yourself to be supported and in that appreciate the support you bring to everyone.

    1. Seems to me receiving appreciation is part of the difference between being servile and providing a service, how many times do you hear “it’s just my job” when expressing thanks? Many organisations have customer complaints departments, how about customer compliment departments?

      1. Yes the complaints line is there as the first point of contact if you have any feedback on businesses or people and I agree why don’t we call it the “customer compliment departments” and you can still make a complaint but it’s intention is for people to show their appreciation for what they are receiving and not just expect it or play it down. A lot of us have trouble with people appreciating us, it can make us uncomfortable and this maybe a small and yet significant change that supports us all.

      2. Oh I love this idea Kathie – a customer compliments department! That would change things. No doubt when the large percentage of the population begins to appreciate themselves this might come into being. At the moment there are questionnaires being sent out to be filled in by customers after certain customer service calls – in which there is an option to express your appreciation . . . but basically the intent behind these questionnaires is to check upon employees, and the results can be held over employees if they don’t rank high – so it could be quite intimidating for those in the work force – especially if you encounter a detractor or very stressed and unstable customers!

    1. Absolute Lorraine. When we begin to walk and live with love we soon realise that ‘being nice’ is not so ‘nice’ at all, as we are in fact withholding what we feel is true.

  36. It is wonderful to see documented this transformation from the mask of ‘nice’ into being who you truly are Kathie. Your blog paints a great picture of how society in general conduct itself, through fear, protection and pretence. World teachers have taught about it, great writers have characterised it but we still mostly go on doing it! You are a pioneer for all to break through this conventional way of life and live truth.

  37. So great Kathie, that you find your way to yourself and to live from that true beauty. I learned from a great friend that if we want to take care of others it always has to include ourselves too, if not then there is no true care anyway. I love the idea of a puzzle, while reading your words I felt a joy of being equally important to make the completion. No puzzle piece is more important then the other. They can have a different shape but without all of them it is not complete, there is no union.

  38. Kathie I so relate with this part of your blog “It has been (and is) such a journey to undo the ‘nice-ness’ that I had embodied so well, to open up to the love that is there inside me and what that means in everyday life.” There is no doubt that this is the true way of living should we allow it for ourselves and I have come to know and feel throughout my entire body that there is no love in nice and no nice in love.

  39. No matter what we think or say or body will communicate to us whether how we are living is truly working. This is a great blessing to be appreciated as it means we are limited in how much we can stray from what is true…

  40. Thanks Kathie, as this is a reminder about what my boss shared in the first job I had, work was all about the ‘customer being right, even when they are wrong they were right.’ Love or at-least the level of Self-Love I now live in has shifted my relationship with clients, so my relationship with work has turned out to feel and to honestly share with my clients.

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